ROWLEY, Charlotte (nee Shipley)

A most interesting Autograph letter written at Wadi Medani on the Blue Nile describing some of her experiences there whilst on her Honeymoon.


8vo., 70 lines (approx 400 words), holograph, with integral blank page.


SKU: 16646 Category:

Product Description

An extraordinary letter written on her honeymoon in Egypt by Charlotte Rowley (1811-1871), known as a pathfinder female traveller. The letter is written from Wadi Medani after she and her husband have returned from Sanner, which was the most southerly reach of their journey down the Blue Nile. It commences: “Sail to Sennaar the banks of the river alive with monkeys & green parrot & the river full of crocodiles & hippopotami. Italian medical man said that in Abyssinia they make children more useful than in any other country & turn them into medicine for when the mother has had a bad labour, or does not recover her strength quickly the new born infant is boiled down & the broth drank by its mother”. She then continues by saying how many crocodiles there are in the river and how the natives catch them. “The natives have a dread of their picture being taken, as they firmly believe that once having got that I can call the original to England whenever I please.” Charlotte was an accomplished artist. The letter continues with observations on eye glasses, the natives wonder at “Lucifers” and the extraordinary number of children that some of the native women have. “Our evenings are spent in sitting out of doors drinking coffee & talking about our English customs to a crowd of Turks & Arabs”. She ends the letter with comments on the extraordinary heat they encountered, and that the nails of their shoes become so hot they cannot wear them. Charlotte Rowley is allegedly the first white woman to travel the Blue Nile as far south as Sanner, 150 miles south of Khartoom. There is no indication on the letter as to whom it is written, but most likely to a family member. Charlotte was born at Bodrhyddon Hall, Rhuddlan, Flintshire, the daughter of William Shipley and Charlotte Williams-Wynn. Her mother was the daughter of Sir Watkins Williams-Wynn and as this letter was found among some papers that emanated from the Williams-Wynn family.